Drylands—agro-ecological zones that include both arid and semi-arid areas—make up 43% of the land area in Africa and are home to about 45% of its population, approximately 325 million people. Relatively neglected by governments and starved of private sector investment, these areas have high rates of poverty. Agriculture is the dominant livelihood, with farmers coping with scarce and highly variable rainfall and eking out primarily subsistence-based livelihoods on largely infertile soils.
The Drylands Development Programme (DryDev) supports more than 227,000 smallholder farmers in selected dryland areas of Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Ethiopia, and Kenya. DryDev, which has an overall budget of more than $50 million, is a five-year programme that is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, with a substantial contribution from World Vision Australia. The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) is the overall implementing agency.